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Muscle Strength and Postural Stability in Healthy, Older Women: Implications for Fall Prevention

Elaine J. Trudelle-Jackson, Allen W. Jackson, and James R. Morrow Jr.

Background:

Effect of muscle strength and balance on falls has not been well researched in healthy older women. The purpose of this study was to compare lower extremity strength and balance in older healthy women during each decade of life and to investigate which factors are different in women with a history of falling.

Methods:

We retrospectively studied 240 women age 50-89 y. Measures of muscle strength, postural stability, and incidence of falls over the past year were obtained from client charts at Texas Woman’s University’s Health Promotion & Research Center from 1996 to 2002.

Results:

Strength declined significantly with age in all muscle groups except knee extensors. Age, hip flexor and abductor strength, and postural stability were significantly different in women who had fallen.

Conclusions:

Strength decline was not consistent across muscle groups. Women who were older, had less hip flexor or abductor strength, or less balance were more likely to have fallen.

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Prevalence of Muscle-Strengthening Activities in Women: The WIN Study

Jakob L. Vingren, James R. Morrow Jr., Elaine Trudelle-Jackson, and Merly T. Mathew

Background:

Aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities are related to morbidities and mortality. Resistance exercise/strength training items are included in national surveys, but the manner in which muscle-strengthening activity is queried varies among these surveys.

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to use different self-report measures to examine the prevalence of meeting the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans regarding muscle-strengthening activities among women.

Methods:

We surveyed 606 community-dwelling women at 4 points in time across a 1.5- to 3-year time period to determine whether the respondents met the national physical activity guidelines for performing muscle-strengthening activities ≥ 2 days per week.

Results:

Results were consistent across time but depended on the manner in which the question was asked. If asked to reflect over the past month or a general question about the typical number of days engaged, approximately 40% of women reported engaging in ≥ 2 days per week of resistance exercise/strength training. However, when reports were obtained weekly for 13 weeks, only approximately 18% of respondents met the guidelines.

Conclusion:

Results indicate that the timing and nature of questioning can substantially influence the self-reported prevalence of muscle-strengthening physical activities for community-dwelling women.

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Internet Reporting of Weekly Physical Activity Behaviors: The WIN Study

Tyson M. Bain, Georita M. Frierson, Elaine Trudelle-Jackson, and James R. Morrow Jr.

Background:

Self-report measures have been validated and are widely used. Interest currently lies in the development of simple, valid methods that can be used in any location to determine level of PA in large populations/samples. The purpose of this report is to illustrate tracking of physical activity behaviors and musculoskeletal injury reports on a weekly basis via the Internet.

Methods:

The Women’s Injury Study (WIN) methodology includes use of BRFSS-related physical activity items that are completed online by more than 900 women weekly for an average of 3 years.

Results:

With more than 45,000 weekly physical activity and injury logs, the percentage of total logs submitted via online records is 91%. Self-reported pedometer steps are consistent with similar, smaller research samples.

Conclusions:

This report suggests that Internet tracking is a viable means of assessing nearly real-time physical activity, describes the process of developing and monitoring self-reported physical activity behaviors via the Internet, and provides recommendations for others considering such methods.